FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ICBA Supports Congressional Passage of Bill That Helps Mitigate Drastic Flood Insurance Rate Hikes
Washington, D.C. (March 13, 2014)—The Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) said it strongly supports today’s Senate vote of 72 to 22 finalizing congressional passage of ICBA-advocated, bipartisan legislation to protect homeowners from significant increases in flood insurance premiums.
The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (H.R. 3370) would prevent sharp flood insurance rate hikes while ensuring the actuarial soundness of the National Flood Insurance Program. However, ICBA remains concerned with the impact of higher premiums on commercial properties, which will continue to face rate hikes under the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.
“ICBA supports today’s Senate vote to approve this much-needed flood insurance legislation, and we urge President Obama to quickly sign it into law,” ICBA President and CEO Camden R. Fine said. “The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act will help ensure that sharp rate hikes will not make flood insurance unaffordable for many policyholders who built to code and followed the law every step of the way. ICBA thanks lawmakers in both chambers for their efforts to stop these devastating rate increases for our still-recovering housing market.”
Among its provisions, H.R. 3370 would:
- reinstate grandfathered status for covered properties,
- create an annual individual property rate cap (18 percent) to prevent year-over-year rate increases for homeowners,
- repeal the home-sale and new-policy rate-increase triggers,
- provide a refund for people who have realized large premium increases due to the purchase of a pre-FIRM subsidized home without the full transparency from the Federal Emergency Management Agency as to the new rate structure, and
- require FEMA to complete an affordability study and to propose an affordability framework to help homeowners cope with dramatically higher premiums.
ICBA has worked closely with the House and Senate to mitigate the dramatic rate increases that began being phased in on Oct. 1, while community bankers worked with a nationwide coalition to advocate a comprehensive fix to the unintended consequences of the Biggert-Waters Act. ICBA supports a fully authorized, sustainable and fiscally responsible National Flood Insurance Program.
The Independent Community Bankers of America®, the nation’s voice for nearly 7,000 community banks of all sizes and charter types, is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education and high-quality products and services.